It was a sunny day. The predicted thunder showers never materialized. We met Sam and Sarah and boys at their house and rode up in tandem to Heber Cemetery where Tom's parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles are buried in a Plummer plot. Elva, his mother, began this tradition many years ago. She would fix all the flowers in coffee cans lined with aluminum foil. Flowers from her exuberant garden: iris, peonies, bridal wreath, and roses. Her husband, Gail, got the largest bouquet but the others did pretty well, including Gail's sister, the unfortunate Lodema Plummer, who dropped dead at the age of 23 on the dance floor in 1927. She had had the 1918 influenza and it had weakened her heart. She died in the arms of Robert Bjorkman, who teared up whenever he talked about it.
I suggested to Sam and Sarah that they name their next daughter Lodema. We could not come up with a pleasing nickname. Lodi? Dema? Od? But is a nickname even necessary?
We were saying how all kinds of distant relatives would come by to talk to Elva--the Andersons and Bjorkmans are the two names we remembered--when suddenly lots of Plummer cousins appeared: Susan, Scott, Pat and Anne. There was much celebrating about this happy coincidence, and we all chattered in the sun and marvelled at the over decorated graves and had a generally good visit.
The children, Elliot and Louis grew hungry so we went off for our "picnic." Elva always made a large lunch of fried chicken, potato salad, jello salad, brownies, chips, punch and we would eat in back of the Heber tabernacle rain or shine, hot or cold.
We did our own version: we went to the Homestead and ate lunch overlooking the pond and the geese and then went to the gift store for fudge and a carmeled apple. Elliot made two trips up the volcano while the rest of us listened to birds and fed Louis bits of chocolate.
Tom and I napped and then drove the Miata with the top down around the neighborhood, past the lake where we noticed the new sections had been opened up. This means longer kayak rides. It was all rather blissful. I think you should say it aloud when you know it's true: it was blissful.
Friday, I went to the doctor to have a uterine biopsy. She told me to come back on Monday for a sonogram to look at my useless ovaries. She said ovarian cancer is the worst.
Saturday morning I went kayaking. Of my many hats, I have chosen the yellow one as my kayak hat. Kayaking is spiritual
Saturday, I participated all of ten minutes in the Provo Children's Book Writers and Ilustrators' Conference, or whatever it's called. It was the first time I had been in the library at Academy Square and it is lovely. I used to have a class there when I went to BYU in the dark ages. The best part of the conference was running into old students who were now published authors themselves. And seeing old friends.
Saturday evening, Tom and I went to see STAR WARS and root for the good guys. Or do we route for the good guys? NPR had spoiled a good deal of it the day before. Was it Ira Flato talking with the critics and blabbing all the surprises? I hate when they do that.
Sunday morning, I did not go to church. First I practiced lying like a dead woman, my arms crossed over my bosom trying not to breathe, trying not to think. It's hard to be dead, if you're alive. Then I read the New York Times. Tom came home from church and broiled a steak on the barbecue. I love gnashing a bloody steak.
Sunday afternoon, we went to Liberty Park with Carlos and Erica and the kids. Max and Murgatroyd played on the playground while the adults and teens discussed life, love, dating, and Germany. I wore my safari hat (as opposed to my yellow kayak hat). We ate cream puffs from Costco.
Sunday night, we went to Sam and Sarah's to sing Happy Birthday to Louis who is one. The Kameraths were also there (Sharon had excellent gossip). Louis practically turned inside out when we sang. He knew it was his party. I could eat that child, he's so cute. Sam made a train cake for him.
Monday morning, Tom drove me to the doctor. I was pissy. He didn't care. My ovaries waved at me on the sonogram. No cancer. I turned into Miss America. We celebrated by eating at Ruth's diner and I bought a bunch of clothes and smiled a lot at Tom, because he really likes it when I smile.
Monday night, we went to D. R.'s viewing. She looked dead.
Mother's Day lasted two days this year, just the way I like it.
Tom, who is not my child, but who is one smart husband, bought me an orange kayak and he couldn't wait until Sunday to give it to me, and so I received it on Saturday. I was completely surprised, because last time I heard, we had 75 cents in our checking account. I took her out for a spin on the lake. It was a perfect day, sunny, maybe 75 degrees, and I paddled from one end of the lake to the other. I'm never happier than when I'm on
The Kayak came with a two-wheel carrier and I can pull it the block and half from my house to the lake with ease, even though I am a total cripple.
Sam and Sarah gave me the book, LOUISE, THE ADVENTURES OF A CHICKEN, which would be a good title for my autobiography. Louise the Chicken also likes water and adventure. She leaves the henhouse three times and is kidnapped by pirates, joins the circus, and then is kidnapped and held prisoner in a cage with other chickens until she picks the lock. Like me, her heart beats inside her feathered breast. (Tom claims this was the biggest surprise of marriage).
The best line in the book is "Good-bye my sweet COQ AU VIN," called Mitzi as Louise left the circus.
Sam and Sarah also had us over to dinner on Saturday night along with her parents, the Kamaraths. There were flowers everywhere and dinner was fabulous. Elliot dictated a card to me and the last thing he said was "X-Ray." Thank you, Sam and Sarah, Elliot and Louis. X-Ray!
Dede and Ed sent two beautifully wrapped packages from the MOMA. One was a red watch. I was wearing my red jacket when I opened it. Red has always been and always will be my favorite color. The second box was a muslin bag of tiny wooden blocks representing New York City, including one shaped like the Statue of Liberty and several limos and cars. Fabulous. Thank you, Ed and Dede, Rian, Samantha and Hank. X-Ray!
Erica and Charles had us all to dinner on Sunday including her parents, the Lindsays. We played half a game of Clue and I won. (It was Mother's Day!) Lots of flowers, laughs. Yummy dinner with hudspeth (Dutch mashed potatoes, onions and carrots) and a terrific coconut cake.
They gave me these sophisticated black and white kitchen towels that make my stove look too cool for words. I also got a handmade note where all of them essentially say I'm terrific. Thank you, Erica and Charles, Anne, Harrison, Maxwell and Mira. X-Ray!
And Jonathan and Julie called on Sunday night to wish me Happy Mother's Day. They gave me a new grandchild, Liam. Whoopty doo! Thank you, Jon and Julie, Katelyn and Liam. X-Ray.
On the first Monday of every month, I play cards with my sisters. The game is Golf, a nine-round game easy enough to be able to play and talk at the same time. Talk and actually win is another story.
This past Monday we took pictures. From the left, Janie, Marilyn, Judy, me, and Toni. I know, I look like their mother. I AM the oldest.
We play two rounds a night, add up the points and the sister with the least points wins.
We started out with one medal for the winner, but ended up with lst, 2nd and 3rd place medals. Last night, at Toni's, I said, "We should have booby prizes," and Toni turns, opens a drawer, and brings out two big black wooden Ls for losers. Her husband, Jesse, made them for us. Thanks Jesse. I'm pretty much a loser every month. Of course, I can always say, that L stands for Louise.
I tell my sisters that lately I've been saying that I was raised by my parents in an orphanage. "Like I never had a doll with hair," I say. Now Toni jumps up to get the doll she got and still has--a doll with hair! A bride. Then she she says the real killer: "I also had a Madame Alexander doll."
No, no no! No one in the orphanage ever had a Madame Alexander doll. That is not possible. Our frugal mother did not run a thrifty household by handing out Madame Alexander dolls. Unless she got them with 500 books of green stamps or, bought it USED and had to have the head replaced. I refuse to believe that Mother gave one of her daughters--not me--a Madame Alexander doll. Maybe it was a fake Madam Aleksender doil. I'll bet that's what it was: a fake.
I don't have any of the toys of my childhood, because I didn't take care of my things. Janie took care of HER things. Why didn't she take care of my things as well? It wouldn't have taken that much extra effort.
The only bike I ever had was a rebuilt Colgate. Ever heard of it?
We tell stories. In somebody's ward, the primary chorister is working the song to death by flailing her arms and bowing them into the shape of the sun and letting her fingers flutter down to show the rain coming down. You know the gig. These kids can't read, so you have to show them the words with your body. When the song is over, a three-year-old in the first row says in a loud voice, "What the hell was that all about?"
When the phone rings, Janie says, "Oh that's Mother. She calls me this time every night." (She's been dead for five years).
Marilyn tells us her best time for sleeping is after five when Neil, her husband, gets up. She can spread out in the bed and--and discover a half eaten peanut butter sandwich on his side of the bed. It is smushed as if he has lain on it half the night. Later that day, when he comes home and says he's hungry, she says, "Why don't you finish that peanut butter sandwich you started in bed last night?" He doesn't even remember getting up and making it.
I love my sisters. We laugh the same. We all sing alto. We're exceedingly anxious. Not one of us would ride a ferris wheel. We don't even ride the sky tram at lagoon. I did once and hyperventilated through the entire ride. Janie likes buttermilk and has a large, very large shoe size. We don't hold it against her.